United States Naval Academy

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The United States Naval Academy (USNA, Annapolis, or simply Navy) is a federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the five U.S. service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The 338-acre (137 ha) campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C., and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore. The entire campus (known to insiders as "the Yard") is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. It replaced Philadelphia Naval Asylum, in Philadelphia, that served as the first United States Naval Academy from 1838 to 1845, when the Naval Academy formed in Annapolis.

Ex Scientia Tridens  (motto)


USNA Gold Seal
121011-N-OA833-002 (24401310884)
Bancroft Hall Rotunda, steps leading upward to Memorial Hall
Newly commissioned Navy and Marine Corps officers toss their hats during the U.S. Naval Academy Class of 2011 graduation
  • William F. Halsey, Jr., wasn't destined for academic stardom at the Naval Academy, but he applied himself just enough to make respectable marks without adversely affecting his preferred social and athletic pursuits. Once, when Halsey came dangerously close to failing theoretical mechanics, his father strongly advised him to drop football. That, of course, was out of the question. Instead, Bill recruited the scholars in his class to tutor him and a few others similarly challenged. When the exam was over, Bill went to his father's quarters for lunch and was immediately asked if the results had been posted. "Yes, sir," Bill answered, and then reported that he had made 3.98 out of 4.0. His father stared at him for a full minute and finally asked incredulously, "Sir, have you been drinking?"
    • Walter R. Borneman, The Admirals: Nimitz, Halsey, Leahy and King- The Five-Star Admirals Who Won the War at Sea (2012), p. 45
  • The class of 1904 has several distinctions: we were the last to enter the Academy with less than 100 men, the last to be designated "naval cadets" instead of "midshipmen," and the last that never lived in Bancroft Hall, the present dormitory. On the other hand, we were the first whose senior cadet officer was a five-striper. My first year at the Academy- my plebe, or fourth-class year- the cadet body totaled only 238, or enough for a battalion, which was commanded by a four-striper; but by my first-class year we totaled more than 600, enough for a regiment, and the cadet commander sprouted another stripe. I was not he. I never had more than the two stripes that went with my duties as the adjutant of the second battalion.
  • My football was confined to the scrubs, the "Hustlers," for the first two years, but just before the opening game of the 1902 season, the regular fullback was badly injured and I was put in. I kept the job that season and the next, my last. Here is as good a place as any to state that those two teams were probably the poorest that the Academy ever produced, but poor as they were, they were no poorer than their fullback. More than forty years later, General of the Army Eisenhower, whom I had never met before, came up to me in Fleet Admiral King's office in Washington. His remark was not, "I'm glad to meet you," or, "How are you?" but, "Admiral, they tell me you claim to be the worst fullback that ever went to the Naval Academy." I wasn't sure what this was leading to, so my answer was a bit truculent. "Yes. That's true. What about it?" Eisenhower laughed and stuck out his hand. "I want you to meet the worst halfback that ever went to the Military Academy!
  • King's oaken hull began to split in 1947, when he suffered a stroke. His mind remained alert, but his iron-plated timbers began to creak and sag. He moved into a suite at Bethesda Naval Hospital for full-time care, and at one point he shared a floor with the acutely depressed James Forrestal, who ended his life by jumping from the sixteenth-floor window in 1949. King spent the next seven summers at the naval hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He slipped his moorings and sailed over the bar on June 25, 1956, at the age of seventy-eight. He was buried at Annapolis, home of the United States Naval Academy. The only hymn sung at his funeral was a Navy anthem, an old favorite of Roosevelt's: "Eternal Father, Strong to Save."
    • Johnathan W. Jordan, American Warlords: How Roosevelt's High Command Led America To Victory In World War II (2016), p. 473.
  • To the Class of 1901, United States Naval Academy.
    • Ernest King, dedication of Fleet Admiral King: A Naval Record (1952), co-written with Walter Muir Whitehill
  • There were a lot of people who were willing to write a letter for me. Not because I was academically inclined, but because I worked hard.
  • I didn't realize it at the time, but it became apparent to me later, that I had just experienced the most incredible lesson in leadership that I would ever experience: a Navy captain, who was in charge of the entire day-to-day operations of the Naval Academy, took the time to reach down deep into that organization and drag an individual up who was having trouble and try to instill in that individual a little bit of self-discipline and self-confidence. He knew my uncle, obviously, but I felt he would have done this for anyone in my predicament regardless of who his relatives were.
    • Leighton W. Smith, Jr., on a meeting with Captain William Floyd Bringle during a period of low academic performances in his first year at Annapolis, in which he was told he would improve his them within 10 days or face another counseling session with him, as quoted in Afterburner : Naval Aviators and the Vietnam War (2004) by John Darrell Sherwood, Ch. 20 : Leighton Warren Smith and the Fall of Thanh Hoa, p. 274
  • The admirals' academy careers are a study in contrasts. King made the best record. He was one of the lucky plebes who reached the Caribbean during the Spanish-American War, although he missed the Battle of Santiago. A star man in academic standing and a member of the junior varsity football team, the Hustlers, throughout his four years at the academy, in his first-class year he was chosen to command the battalion and graduated number four in a class of sixty-seven. His last year was dangerous, however. Put on report three times for smoking, he narrowly escaped a spell in the Santee and invited much more serious trouble by Frenching out to visit a girl in Annapolis. On one occasion a friend, learning of an unscheduled inspection at 10:00pm, loyally frenched out himself to bring King back on time. A few years later King was assigned to the Executive Department at the academy. At dinner with the midshipmen in Bancroft Hall one evening he was asked if he had ever frenched out. He admitted that he had. The next question was, "Did you ever get caught?" "No," King replied, "but I almost did." "How did you manage not to?" the midshipman persisted. "I am afraid I cannot tell you now," King parried, "but when you graduate, come out to my house and I will give you a drink and tell you how to French out and not be caught."
    • Jack Sweetman, The United States Naval Academy: An Illustrated History (1995), 2nd Edition, edited by Thomas J. Cutler, p. 151-152

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